Koyasan in Wakayama: stunning, mysterious and sublime architecture
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Kansai region is extremely diverse and you have countless places to visit and enjoy the uniqueness of Japan. However, for stunning natural beauty, religious feelings, mystery and amazing views; then Koyasan is “a real gem.”
Kyoto and Nara are internationally famous for stunning religious places of worship, high culture, architecture, Japanese gardens and in Kyoto the mystery surrounding the geisha remains. However, Koyasan in Wakayama is a gem in its own right and despite my Christian heritage this is the one place that I have visited where you can feel a hidden meaning within the sanctuary of Shingon Buddhism.
The hectic nature of life means that during rare times of freedom from “the clock and daily routine” you have chances to visit special places. Therefore, in Koyasan you can enjoy the sublime natural beauty and amazing architecture.
More important, you can feel that religion is still alive in Koyasan and the mountainous region means that you can feel close to the mystery of life. This is the beauty of Koyasan because you have so many Buddhist temples and the richness of culture is visible in every direction. To top this you have the natural beauty of nature mingling with quality architecture and amidst a different pace of life.
Koyasan is about the deeper meaning of life and the simple things and natural aspects of nature appear in a different light. After all, the visual images of Buddha and mastery of art and architecture comes together and the garden layout is designed to complement each unique factor.
Non-Buddhists and Buddhists will feel at home in Koyasan because “the bigger picture” and the splendor of humanity can be seen visually. God’s Eden may be tainted by the failure of humanity but hidden away in all nations are rare treasures and in Koyasan you have an international gem.
The non-religious may believe that God is an illusion and this may be so; however, in places like Koyasan you can feel “a magical atmosphere.” The “old world” survives within “modernity” but preserves its rich culture and maintains a rare spirituality.
Kukai (774-835) who became known as Kobo Daishi established the first monastery in the ninth century on mount Koya (Koya-san). The Shingon sect had a different thought pattern within the many schools of Buddhism and Kukai believed that enlightenment could be attained in one lifetime.
Kukai was a searcher and he visited China and during his stay he studied Esoteric Buddhism. Initially, he prayed for peace and prosperity because he could not find inner-peace within city life, therefore, he searched for a place where he could meditate and become even more spiritual.
When Kukai saw the stunning nature of Koyasan it was clear to him that he had found the place which he desired. The mountains meant that he was cut off from everyday city life in this period and the sublime beauty of nature added to the mysterious feel of Koyasan.
Today, in the modern period, other worlds still survive and in Koyasan you feel the richness of culture, the souls of the dead within the mysterious graveyards, the beauty of life within the grounds of so many Buddhist temples and a culture which still survives.
The stunning scenery makes you feel that this was the original Eden!
http://www.shukubo.jp/eng/ (stunning Koyasan)
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4900.html (Information about Koyasan)
http://www.koyasan.org/ (Information about Koyasan)